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Holidays for Soul - Amarkantak

 
 
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Spiritual Holidays - Amarkantak
| Places to see | Places Nearby | Places to Stay | How to Reach |

A relatively off-the-track destination, Amarkantak situated at an altitude of 1065 meters at the meeting point of Vindhya and the Satpura mountain ranges is a veritable paradise with its verdant hills, forested surroundings and breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls. Its ever-pervading air of serenity is also referred to in the 5th century play of Kalidasa Meghadutam who mentions it as Amrakoot and instructs the cloud messenger to visit it on his way to Mt. Kailasa. This small town known as much as for its picturesque surroundings is also popular as an offbeat spiritual destination.

Known as Teerthraj or the ‘the king of pilgrimage’, Amarkantak was once the home of Gods till its solitude was disturbed by the hindrances of Rudraganas and hence the name Amarkantak whose literal meaning means immortal (amar) obstruction (kantak). Yet, despite its name, the place still continues to attract thousands of people - reason being its association with Lord Shiva and as the source of the Holy River of Narmada which is considered even holier than the Ganga River. It is said that while a devotee needs one dip in the Holy Ganga, seven days' prayers on the banks of Yamuna and three days prayers on the banks of Saraswati, the mere sight of Narmada is enough.

Another story goes even further and holds that once a year, the river Ganga dressed as dark woman visits the Narmada takes a purifying dip in its waters when she herself is polluted beyond tolerance. For this reason, Amarkantak is considered as sacred to the Hindus and a door-way to ‘nirwana’. It is believed that who ever dies at Amarkantak is assured of a place in heaven. Also if a lady makes offerings of fruits and flowers will gain the respect of her husband, and no doubt she will also achieve a place in heaven.


Places to see in Amarkantak
The Dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti

One of the most sacred places of Amarkantak, Narmada Udgam is reportedly the place from where the river originates i.e   the source of the river Narmada.  Many temples like the Guru Gorakhnath Temple, Sri Shuryanarayan Temple, Vangeshwar Mahadev Temple, Durga Temple, Shiv Pariwar, Siddheswar Mahadev Temple, Sri Radha Krishna Temple including one dedicated to river itself are situated at the base of the Narmadakund. Go a further 1.5 km and you will reach Sonmuda – famous as the place of origin of river Sone and well known for its sunsets and gold dust which reportedly gave the river its name. Also located a km from the Narmadakund is the beautiful garden of Mai ki Bagiya from whereGoddess Narmada is said to have plucked flowers.

Amarkantak also holds a special significance for the Kabir Panthis as well as for the Shaivites. Kabir Chabutra- where the saint is reportedly said to have mediated and met Guru Nanak is located here so is the Shri Jwaleshwar Mahadev Temple. The temple located some 8 km from Amarkantak on Shahdol road is dedicated to Lord Shiva and as per the ‘Vindhya Vaibhav’, Lord Shiva himself established a Shivling here and also scattered crores of other Shivlings over Maikal Mountain range. For this reason, the place is also known as ‘Maha Rudra Meru’ or the ‘abode of lord Shiva’.  Another story says that when Lord Shiva destroyed the three cities of Tripura, the ashes of one fell upon Mount Kailash, the ashes of another fell upon Amarkantak, and the ashes of the third were saved by Lord Shiva and kept in heaven. The ashes that fell upon Amarkantak turned into crores of Shivalingas of which one is at Jwaleshwar. The ancient temples of Kalchuri period situated in the south of Narmadakund are also worth visiting.

Amarkantak is also a haven for nature lovers. The place is known for its dense forest cover as well as its numerous waterfalls. While its forest cover hides a treasure trove of diverse flora and fauna, its various waterfalls make the place and ideal picnic spot and eco tourism destination. Dugdhdhara with itsmilky waters falling from a height of 50ft and the roaring Kapildhara located 6 km from Narmadakund are two of Amarkantak’s famous waterfalls. Also located near the Kapildhara Waterfall is the Kapileshwar Temple dedicated to Kapil Muni. Shambhudhara & Durgadhara   are the other waterfalls. However, to reach there one has to walk a few kilometers.

Places Nearby

Other notable places worth visiting are the Brighu Kamandal located some3 km from Amarkantak. Brighu Kamandal is famous for its ancient kamandal (water pitcher) which is always full of water. It is believed that Brighu Rishi meditated at this place. The Parasvinayak and Chandi caves are also on this route. Dhuni Pani so named after itsnatural hot springs is located deep in the Amarkantak forest. The hot waters of the spring are believed to have curative powers and one has to hike deep into the verdant forest to reach the place.

Ashrams @ Amarkantak
Shri Barfani Siddh Yoga Ashram located4 km south from the Narmada Temple is a branch of Shri Khak Chowk Ashram of Ayodhya. Founded by Brahmarshi Shri Barfani Dadaji in 1968, members of the ashram follow the Vaishnava cult. The Ashram conducts various religious discourses on Maha Shivaratri and Navaratri and also distributes free Ayurvedic medicines. The ashram also conducts various naturopathic treatments and yogic treatment.

The Kalyan Sewa Ashram is another ashram located at Amarkantak (Ph: 07629-269419). The Ashram runs a charitable school and a dispensary as well.

Places to Stay

Accommodation in Amarkantak is limited to few guest houses and MPTDC’s Holiday Home. One can also stay in ashrams and dharmsalas there. Check hotels in Amarkantak

 
How to reach

By Air: Nearest airports are Jabalpur (228 km) and Raipur (230 km).

By Rail:
The closest railhead is Pendra Road (42 km) on the Katni - Bilaspur section of the South-Eastern Railway though Anuppur at 48 km is more convenient.

By Road:
Regular bus services connect Amarkantak with Shahdol, Umaria, Jabalpur, Rewa, Bilaspur, Anuppur and Pendra Road.

Best Time to Visit:  Through out the year though winter is the best time.

About Amarkantak: Amarkantak Information & Fact File
Altitude 1065 meters above sea level
Temp
Summer  35 (Max) &  25(Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter  20 (Max) & -2 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go Throughout the year but winter is the best time
Monsoon July - September
Summer February – June
Winter November-January
Clothes Light cottons in summer and heavy woolens in winter.
Nearest Airport Jabalpur (228 km)
Nearest Railway Station Anuppur
Bus Station Amarkantak
Hospital & Doctor

Govt. and Pvt. Hospitals are fully equipped to handle medical emergencies.

Places to see Narmada Udgam ,Narmadakund, Mai ki Bagiya Kabir Chabutra, Shri Jwaleshwar Mahadev Temple…
   
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